In February 2021, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology added 88 acres to its Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary in Ithaca, N.Y. The new land acquisition increases the size of Sapsucker Woods by nearly 40% and adds shrubland habitat to the woods and wetlands in the rest of the sanctuary.
“We all owe great thanks to [the Cornell Lab’s] longtime friend and board member Louisa Duemling, who made an exceptionally generous and timely gift commitment that allowed this purchase to move forward,” says John Fitzpatrick, former director of the Cornell Lab, who oversaw the acquisition.
According to Fitzpatrick, the ongoing prospect of development on this land “had long been a threat to the ecological sanctity of our preserve.”
“The shrubby, old-field habitat should attract birds like Blue-winged Warbler, Eastern Towhee, and Alder Flycatcher during the nesting season,” says David Bonter, codirector of the Cornell Lab’s Center for Engagement in Science and Nature. Bonter, who also teaches several undergraduate ornithology courses at Cornell University, says new paths now being planned will expand the current Sapsucker Woods trail network, and he plans to take his classes to the new parcel in the fall 2021 semester.
Cornell Lab Visitor Experience Manager Lisa Kopp is also excited about the new shrublands at Sapsucker Woods: “An expanded Sapsucker Woods means the chance for new interpretation on the trails, new self-guided experiences, and just the fun of exploring a new habitat with different plants and animals.”
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